Name: Barbara Bilkerdijk
Title/Position: Makeup Artist
DT: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? And some highlights in your career? Please name drop (laughs).
BB: I started my career in the beauty industry when I moved to NYC from Holland. I come from the "old school "of makeup artistry. We learned the craft through hard work, continuous education, and practical application, that sharpened my skills. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a makeup artist, and had aspirations from the start of owning my own cosmetic line. My first gig was with Chanel at Saks Fifth Ave NYC; I became a topseller, and my passion for makeup grew tremendously. Along the way, I got an opportunity working on [the] set of a Spike Lee film. Spike was the most innovative, young and independent filmmaker at that time.
From that point, my career really took off! I was young, motivated, passionate to do what I loved! Over the past 25 years, I worked with many celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Helen Mirren, Ben Affleck, Little Kim, Faith Evans, Monica Bellucci, and many more. For 8 years, I was [the] key makeup artist for various projects on the Hallmark channel, which included the talk show with Naomi Judd, and the new morning show with Timberly Withfield. I also owned Bilkerdijk Cosmetics, a custom blend line for women of color.
DT: Why is it important to have diversity in the beauty and fashion industries?
BB: It is very important, otherwise we limit ourselves. Without it, we look at the world through one lens. By drawing from others' ideas, or background and cultures, we create art. Diversity brings variety, opportunity, and culture to our industry. With diversity, the most amazing things come to life.
DT: Have you seen shifts in the last decade?
BB: Absolutely. There are many. Makeup has advanced. It's easier to find your shade, especially if you are a woman of color. This was not easy 10-20 years ago. I also notice that girls are starting to wear makeup a lot younger now.
DT: In a perfect world, what would be an ideal evolution in the industries of beauty and fashion?
BB: Oh gosh, I wish I knew! But, it would be nice to…snap my fingers… and, I'm ready to go in 5 minutes…full face, hair, and makeup perfect! Or, some machine that I could just stick my face in at the end of the day, and it would clean my entire face…
DT: Do you realize that your presence in the industry, inspires many people around the world?
BB: I would hope so. I love making people feel and look their best. [Doing] so brings me inspiration and happiness. I hope that others are inspired whether by me (or anyone else) to pass that joy one face at a time.
DT: What advice would you give your younger self?
BB: I have many but not sure how much space left for this article. I will quote from my favorite author who I had the honor to meet and also work with Maya Angelou:
"You're itching to be on your own. You don't want anybody telling you what time you have to be in at night or how to raise your baby. You're going to leave your mother's big comfortable house and she won't stop you, because she knows you too well. But listen to what she says: When you walk out of my door, don't let anyone raise you – you've been raised. You know right from wrong."